I have to sit down this morning and tell "The World" what I think.
At first I was pleased to hear the opening of a report on NPR/PRI’s “The World” dealing with settler violence against Palestinians during the annual olive harvest, but soon I was completely disgusted. You can hear Linda Gradstein’s report yourself at this link: http://www.theworld.org/taxonomy_by_date/1/20081020
In a 5-minute, 30-second segment, Gradstein allowed a Palestinian woman (and her translator) 1:22 to tell the story of harassment and damage to her home at Asira Al-Qibiliyya. Mahmoud Abbas, Ehud Olmert and a military official were quoted. Then Gradstein dedicated over three minutes to the point of view of settlers at Yitzhar, giving voice to three people. Am I being too picky? This piece seems unbalanced at a ratio of about three to one.
Listen for yourself. You can contact producers at “The World” at this link: email@example.com
Gradstein quotes figures from B'tselem, the Israeli human rights organization. There is a report of the raids on Asira Al-Quibiliyya and much more good information there: http://www.btselem.org/English/Video/20080913_SB_Settler_riot_in_Asira_al_Qibliya.asp
Balance isn’t everything. In thinking about the quality of media coverage, I consider several factors, the most critical being omissions. Pay attention to what is missing from an article or radio segment.
1. Does the author provide any sense of what Palestinian daily life is like under occupation?
2. Is there any acknowledgement of international law, according to which more than 300,000 Israelis reside illegally in the West Bank settlements?
3. Does the piece acknowledge that the two sides in this struggle are not equal? One is an occupied people, the other is the occupier enjoying a highly beneficial relationship with the United States.
I might add a fourth, hoping that more reporters would add some mention of the important non-violent efforts for change coming from both the Israeli and Palestinian sides.
Maybe you will want to tell "The World" what you think - firstname.lastname@example.org
For more of Gradstein's covereage of her trip to the Nablus area, see the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/14/AR2008101402843_2.html?nav=rss_world/mideast
To receive regular bulletins from Ann Hafften, subscribe at the blog - A Texas Lutheran's Voice for Peace - http://voicesforpeace.blogspot.com/